Murder accused sent to jail for life

DURBAN – Ulundi Regional Court sentenced four men for killing a local businessman and robbing a local traditional leader at the Mahlabathini policing precinct. The accused were meted with life imprisonment for murder and a total of 53 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Saziso Sphelele Buthelezi (28), Sandile Xulu (22), Gadokwakhe Buthelezi (28) and Makhosonke Nyawo (34) were arrested by the investigating officers from the Mahlabathini SAPS in April 2018 where Gadokwakhe was found with a firearm loaded with ammunition. On 14 February 2018, a local traditional leader (59) was attacked by unknown gunmen who robbed him of cash, his licensed firearm, cellphones and was stabbed on both thighs at Ndinde Reserve. A case of armed robbery was opened for investigation. On 23 February 2018, a local businessman, Amos Xulu (76) was attacked in his home where he operated his tuckshop business at Nkonjeni Reserve. The accused demanded cash, shot and killed Xulu. They also assaulted family members and fled. A case of murder and robbery was opened for investigation.

The detectives began their investigation which led them to Esikhaleni near Empangeni where they arrested Buthelezi, another accused were arrested at Ulundi and the other accused was arrested inside a minibus taxi on the R66 highway in Melmoth. These men were arrested for murder and were positively linked to the robbery that occurred earlier that month. They were kept in custody throughout the trial while the investigation to link them to other cases was continuing. They were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, 30 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances. Gadokwakhe who was found with the traditional leader’ firearm was further sentenced to 23 years imprisonment for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

The Acting KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner, Major General Thulani Gonya praised the investigating officers for sending well-investigated dockets to court which led to the successful prosecution.

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